At a glance.

  • New cybersecurity bills passed by US House.
  • CHIPS and Science Act aims to remedy semiconductor shortage.
  • Senate Democrats introduce net neutrality bill.

New cybersecurity bills passed by US House.

Security Week reports that the US House of Representatives passed two cybersecurity bills this week:

The RANSOMWARE (short for “Reporting Attacks from Nations Selected for Oversight and Monitoring Web Attacks and Ransomware from Enemies”) Act is an update of the SAFE WEB Act of 2006, giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to share evidence with foreign law enforcement agencies to aid investigations of cybercrime. The amendments will require the FTC to report on cross-border complaints involving cyberthreats, specifically calling out attacks carried out by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

The Energy Cybersecurity University Leadership Act requires the Department of Energy to establish an Energy Cybersecurity University Leadership Program in which graduate students and postdoctoral researchers would receive financial assistance to take courses that integrate cybersecurity and energy infrastructure.

CHIPS and Science Act aims to remedy semiconductor shortage.

The Verge reports that, after months of negotiations, the US House yesterday passed the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act with a 243-187 vote. $52 billion will go toward subsidies to support the construction of semiconductor fabrications plants in order to boost chip manufacturing in the US. Ahead of the vote, New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone Jr. stated, “The American people may not know it, but semiconductors are integral to their everyday experiences. They are microchips that are used in automobiles, consumer electronics, and washing machines.” 

The act is intended to alleviate the funding issues many chip manufacturers have been experiencing; the pandemic caused an increase in demand for tech products while simultaneously creating a semiconductor shortage that left hardware firms like Nvidia and AMD struggling to keep up. As well, the last few decades saw semiconductor plants shipping factories and jobs overseas to countries like China in an effort to lower costs. As the Wall Street Journal notes, despite a last minute push by certain House Republicans to stall the bill, the CHIPS Act received bipartisan support, with twenty-four Republicans joining with the Democrats to pass the measure. The bill will now go to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. 

Senate Democrats introduce net neutrality bill.

Democratic Senators Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Ron Wyden of Oregon On Thursday introduced the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act, aimed at codifying Obama-era net neutrality rules repealed under the Trump administration. The bill would restore the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) authority to regulate broadband companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon by reclassifying internet service as a telecommunications service. Senator Doris Matsui, who is introducing companion legislation in the House, told CNET, “I strongly believe that net neutrality principles should form the foundation of an open internet. These protections will help defend free expression and innovation — protecting consumers and securing a more equitable online ecosystem.” The bill is just the latest move in the ongoing battle to determine how the internet should (or should not) be policed. The Senate has been dragging their feet for over five hundred days in confirming President Biden’s nomination of net neutrality supporter Gigi Sohn to fill the fifth seat on the FCC, which would give Democrats the upperhand in determining net neutrality rules going forward. With the midterm elections looming, Democrats are pushing to have net neutrality regulations in place in case Republicans win the Senate in the fall.